4 Key Steps To An Extraordinary Workforce

If you want an amazing workforce, it’s not just about hiring. It’s about marketing. You need to shift your thinking of the workplace as an amorphous collection of desks to a product, and embrace the concept that in order to hire the best you have to market to the workplace on multiple channels.

Here are 4 key steps to do it:

1.) Reconsider your recruitment channels and their effectiveness.

If you’re just trying to glean recruiting channel data by using LCA models, it’s not going to work. First, consider candidates as buyers, and then treat them accordingly, constructing an entire journey of content for candidates to encounter.

LCA is a myth, according to many; it takes a series of clicks and re-clicks, visits, consideration, reconsideration, another jump onto the company website and a hop to social media before a potential hire decides to apply. So make sure you’re measuring the success of your recruitment campaigns across social channels and all promotional content, as well as the job posting itself.

2.) Go deeper into social.

A recent SHRM study found that social was more important than ever: a full 65 percent of companies said they found new hires via social channels in the past year. Social networks, social media presences, and of course the networking powerhouse LinkedIn were found to be critical.

But don’t just rest on the same old tropes. There are niche groups, industry blogs, and new outlets like Vine, the video platform in which each video is 6 seconds or less. Vine’s tight format is ideal for showing the key aspect of a job — which certain firms, such as a mechanical engineering firm has successfully used to attract candidates. Social networking sites are among the top four top channels for sourcing candidates, according to the 2015 McQuaig Global Talent Recruitment Survey (along with employee referrals, online job boards, and corporate websites), but now that social networking is expanding in all directions, don’t just go back to those same letters of the alphabet (f, b) and think you’re done.

3.) Showcase real-life, day-to-day experiences to candidates.

A can’t-stress-it-enough, hugely-massively-intensely critical factor in successful hires remains cultural fit — 43% of companies in a recent study said cultural fit was the most important factor in making a new hire. Not the much-ballyhooed cliché of “We all love foosball” cultural fit, but the very fabric of the workplace and its people. If you don’t transmit that effectively — and accurately — to a candidate, it’s a guessing game. And the disconnect between image and reality may just leave a permanent bad taste. So take off some of that slick veneer and show the grain. If you’re interviewing a candidate, invite them to conference into a daily meeting, and connect to staffers in their prospective department. Companies, don’t be shy.

According to the Talent Board, a huge takeaway from the 2015 round of CandE (Candidate Experience) awards is that candidate experience plays an ever-increasing role not only in engagement but referrals. Seventy percent of candidates said they are likely to apply to the same employers again, and 70 percent said they were likely or extremely likely to refer a peer to the employers to which they applied — whether or not they’d been hired (a majority had not).

4.) Stay friendly and build that pipeline.

The fluidity of the mobile and social workforce also means we’re never really done talking, and the brevity of the chitchat means a lot of back and forth to get the whole picture. Moreover, candidate experience doesn’t stop at hire/not hire. The employer’s brand is very much at stake. Not sure about that? Here’s a compelling stat: according to a recent survey on candidate behavior by Career Builder, 65% of job seekers say they are less likely to buy from a company they didn’t hear back from after an interview.

I’ve described the talent pipeline as a great big, exaggerated funnel that requires serious tending. It’s also a resource that needs to be optimized for the right fits, so the talent is there, aligned with the right types of jobs, competencies and skills. To best pinpoint the best candidates, get to know them. Just because they were passed up for one job, don’t drop them: keep in contact. Don’t think about filling an open position. Grow that pipeline, and nurture everyone in it like the potential brilliant hire they may be.

This is a new hiring economy: complicated, competitive, but also, with a seemingly infinite reach into more and more channels. It’s like Cable TV back in its beginnings: a thousand channels was like the Wild West until we got to know it. But the switch to envisioning employees not as hires but as customers is what gives companies the edge. Make the candidate experience a wonderland of good faith and authentic interaction, a keystone of your employer brand, and as far as recruiting goes, you may have a very good year.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.